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Castelli, an outstanding, innovative cycling gear company, dipped their toes into triathlon this year with a pair of well fitting if not totally unique tri kits. Now with a little experience in multisport, the company is diving full force into triathlon with a broad offering of tri apparel boasting a bevy of novel features aimed for long-course racers.
T1 Stealth Top
Castelli is attempting to create an entirely new category of tri gear. Several apparel makers are trying to maximize the aerodynamic properties of tri kits, but Castelli is the first to create an entirely separate piece specifically to reduce wind drag. The T1 Stealth Top is a long sleeve shirt designed to be worn over a tri kit to reduce aerodynamic drag and provide sun protection. Like a swim skin, it’s a one-discipline piece of gear. Castelli suggests ditching the top before the run. Former pro cyclist turned engineer Robby Ketchell helped Castelli craft this top as a single-discipline time saver. His aero testing found that it saves 3:01 for a rider averaging 23mph over an Ironman by improving airflow over the rider’s upper body. Time trialists cover their forearms because some fabrics can reduce the pressure drag created by air passing over the rider compared to bare skin. The T1 Stealth Top replicates that benefit. Strategically placed textured fabric over the shoulders, upper arms and back helps reduce pressure drag, according to Castelli. Sun protection is another benefit. The top covers the arms, shoulders and upper back, three spots that tend to burn during longer races. The top can be worn under a wetsuit or donned in T1. Stripping it off in T2 should be short and easy. The top will cost $149.
The concept of the cooling sleeve is nothing new, and Castelli has new twist on the concept. Temperature-activated design on the sleeves turn light in color when the sleeves warm up (think the opposite of a Coors Light can). It may be gimmicky, but the idea is to give the rider a visual reminder to douse the arms with water.
Body Paint San Remo Tri Suit SS
Based on its one-piece aerodynamic cycling kit by the same name, the San Remo short sleeve tri suit is designed for speed on the bike. Castelli has found that exposed shoulders create measurably more drag than shoulders covered with certain fabrics, and this suit has covers the shoulders and upper arms. According to Castelli’s testing, it is 2/3rds as effective as the T1 Stealth Top at reducing aero drag while cycling, yet doesn’t have to be put on or taken off during the race. One drawback to the always-on speed suit is temperature regulation. Covering more of the upper body during the run could reduce heat dissipation, so the San Remo tri suit is best used in cooler races.
Castelli mounted little hooks on every short and top that strap together, giving a bit of support for the shorts and preventing the top from riding up. If the hooks look like bra hardware, that’s because they are. This could help prevent the top from bunching, which leads to increased drag according to Castelli, and to keep the lower back covered to prevent sunburns. It may also provide a subtle bib-like effect to keep the short from bunching, although it’s only fixed in the rear.
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